A couple days ago Pebble announced that it will be bringing out a brand new model of its smartwatch line, the Pebble Time. The have made it available on Kickstarter first. That should not come as a surprise to anyone since Pebble is Kickstarter's golden child, having had the most successful campaign ever and raising over 10 million dollars. At least that was the most successful until now, in just two days at the time of this writing their new campaign has already topped 10 million and counting.
So why are people excited about this, and what, as a Pebble Steel owner do I think?
Well the answer to the first question is that people were excited about the first pebble because it was really the first smartwatch that looked like a viable anything. It finally showed people that a smartwatch could work, and in turn it showed the tech industry that there was consumer demand for such a device. This caused both tech giants and startups to try and reproduce the smartwatch, something every one has failed to do so far.
So people are excited because they know that Pebble is a company that can make awesome things happen. They are also excited because this Pebble has one big and amazing advantage over the former models, it has a color epaper display.
To me this is truly amazing because I didn't think that color epaper was advanced enough to use in a consumer product. I thought for sure that when it was Amazon would be the first company to give us something using it. This is comparable for me to when the gameboy color came out. It was so exciting to finally be able to do things in color, albeit washed out chromatics. The color display in the video on kickstarter actually looks really good. They claim that they haven't compromised on it either because it will still get 7 days of battery life and be readable in direct sunlight. I think this is awesome, this are two areas where even the Apple watch is going to fall grossly short of the Pebble Time.
The have also added a microphone to allow responses through the Pebble. Personally I don't get excited about this because it still looks like you are Dick Tracy talking into your watch. I would rather, as I've said before, that Pebble gets canned selection responses like "running late" or "call you back". But it may be useful for some people.
The third thing they have really changed is the user interface, making a new system called timeline. I am going to withhold judgement on this one as I haven't quite been able to grasp how it will work yet, but I am very interested to see it. They have said they will try and bring the system to all existing Pebbles as well as the new models.
So, overall I think it looks like an amazing product, but I am not going to be ordering one anytime soon. Why? Well first off they have had no trouble getting the needed funding, and that is the primary reason for supporting kickstarter campaigns.
Secondly, the Pebble Steel is already more than enough for me. Even though the Pebble Time will work the iPhone 4S which is good news, I don't need one. I'm happy with my grayscale display showing me my notifications. This is really a testament to the great product that the Pebble team has already built. I can say that if anyone asks me which smartwatch to get, the Pebble in any form is what I will recommend.